You heard right, today is the day for dates. Bard Valley Natural Delights has declared February 4th – today! – is the first ever National Medjool Date Day.
Medjool dates are a great snack – not only are they an official “Heart Healthy” food according to the American Heart Association, but they’re gluten-free, vegan, halal and kosher. They also make a nice addition to a variety of dishes like salads, appetizers, entrees, and smoothies (for those of you who are still juicing). Personally I prefer dates to cranberries or even raisins because, they register as more caramel than sugary-sweet to my palate.
Speaking of sweets, a certain romantic holiday is just around the corner — why not make “dates” the theme of your date? Restaurants can be crowded or worse, over-priced. Making dinner at home is romantic and fun! Here are some options for each course.
Ricotta-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates – Chef Dave Lieberman calls these the new pigs in a blanket — only way better! Stuffing dates may sound difficult, but don’t let that deter you, Lieberman provides easy-to-follow instructions (and all you need is a freezer bag – I love life hacks like that). He then picks pork in one of my favorite forms, bacon, and wraps it around the stuffed dates. Bonus points for an app that can be prepared ahead of time – you can pop them in the oven when your honey walks in and they’ll be ready to eat by the time they’ve gotten comfortable.
Medjool Date, Avocado, and Kiwi Salsa on Sea Scallops – If you can chop and light a burner you should be able to make this recipe; the simplicity of preparation is one of the many things I love about salsa recipes. (Fun fact: back when my S.O. and I were first dating we took a cooking class and I was in charge of the salsa. Unfortunately, I managed to mess up this simple task by tossing the freshly chopped ingredients in with another attendee’s fruit peels! We had a good laugh before my honey helped me salvage the salsa — talk about a keeper!)
Peanut Butter Filled Dates – GHQ’s editor, Elizabeth, turned me on to this idea after trying the tasty treats at a family party. This FitSugar recipe suggests topping the tasty treat with granola, but since we’re doing dessert I’m going to recommend dark chocolate shavings to keep this on sweet side.
If you need to sell your special someone on the addition of dates to the meal, just tell them that Medjool dates have been known for generations as “the Fruit of Kings” and on this special day you want to make them feel like royalty.